May 3, 1997 in Nation/World

Star Who Made A Splash In ‘60s Dies Bebe Was The Last Of 7 Dolphins In ‘Flipper’ TV Series

Geoffrey Tomb Miami Herald
 

A very old, but hard-working female named Bebe, last of the original Atlantic bottlenose dolphins that starred in the Miami-based “Flipper” television series, is dead.

“Flipper,” an MGM-TV series that aired on NBC from 1964 through 1967, was a spinoff from two successful movies. A crew of seven dolphins performed in the role of Flipper, starring along with actors Brian Kelly, Tommy Norden and Luke Halpin.

The last of the MGM seven was Bebe.

She was 40 when she died this week at her lifelong home, the Miami Seaquarium, where she was born in 1956, a year after the facility was built on Virginia Key.

Atlantic bottlenose dolphins typically live 25 to 35 years, so in addition to being a star performer and the mother of eight calves, Bebe was a hearty survivor.

“Bebe was an outgoing, tough old lady,” said Russ Rector, president of the Dolphin Freedom Foundation and a former trainer who worked with her.

“We are all saddened by Bebe’s passing,” said Robert Rose, director of training at the Seaquarium. “She’s been a wonderful animal and we’ve all come to love her a great deal.”


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